‘Graceful Elderberry’

Oil on Canvas Board 18″ X 14″


I was thinking I’d like to paint a simple, single spray of leaves, bright with sun shining through them.

But while looking for this, I instead came upon by surprise, and was enraptured by, this charming Elderberry.

It captured me, so I thought to paint a simple spray of its sunlit leaves,

but after sitting with it in the forest, taking it in, letting it take me over,

I realized that a single bough wouldn’t portray what it is that has caught my eye

~ it’s the graceful curves of its whole being that must be painted to

express the beauty that I see.

Then I had to find a way to convey what I feel seeing this image:

what I want to bring forward and what I want to push back;

how to draw you in;

how best to bring out the tree’s lovely expression of its lovely character;

and how it is moving, growing, dancing through space and time in the forest.

I find the answer in the elderberry-blue ribbon, tracing those graceful curves that captured me, and drawing you into the dance.


Blue Elderberry (Sambucus caerulea) is a shrub or small tree,

6–12 feet tall, found in the mountainous regions of southern British Columbia.

It is symbolic of rebirth and regeneration. It rapidly regrows broken branches and will take root and shoot up anew from the smallest fallen

fragment, a faculty critical to its survival as Bears take down branches and gorge every year on the bounty of sweet elderberries hanging from their long smooth slender branches.

A staple food, and delicious, dried for use throughout the Winter by First

Nations people.

Elderberry is an excellent immune-system support, especially helpful in

the prevention, and treatment, of colds and influenza.


~Barbara Brown, from Volume I, SYLVAN REFLECTIONS, Wanderings, Paintings & Ponderings From the Forest, Page 45